Looking forward is the ultimate demonstration of hopefulness

To that end, this is my yearly “All The Stuff I Want To Do This Year And Most Likely Won’t Actually Do” post, which S. J. Higbee and I make a point of doing every year around this time, in our Shoot For The Moon Challenge.

Let’s face it, I’m already trying to do the impossible. The situation with my mother and the house is technically, even legally, resolvable in our favour, but so many people would have to tell the truth when it’s in their best interests not to that I’m not holding out much hope.

Also, hope is dangerous. I had a conversation with someone yesterday evening which made me want to cry because it watered a tiny cold seed of hope which I thought was dead. I’ve been stamping on that seedling ever since in an attempt to stop it from unfurling, desperately trying to save myself from further heartbreak down the line. I think I’ve stopped it from growing. For now.

So, I want to think about positive things. Happy things. Things which are (mostly) within my control. Like writing. I can do writing. And other things which maybe aren’t so within my control, like getting funding for Bard. But they’re still more controllable than dickshit solicitors. Or mortgages. Or, I don’t know, where we’ll be living a year from now.

I guess I should first go through my goals list from last year, but because the website is gone I can’t access it. I do have the archive but I haven’t figured out how to open it yet (it’s got a file suffix that I don’t recognise – .ia, anyone?). I’m pretty sure word count would have featured on there, and money earning. No idea about the rest.

So, I wrote 166880 words last year. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. That significantly exceeded the output of 2014 and 2015 combined, and even, just, exceeded 2013’s output as well! So I’m pleased with that.

I don’t have my diary with me to check on my earnings from last year (yes, I really do write it all down, to the penny found in the street) but I’m pretty sure I didn’t exceed £10k in total for the year. *shrug* It is what it is.

For a number of reasons, I’m really pleased to have achieved what I did last year. The word count is pretty damn impressive, by my standards, and let’s face it, those are the only standards that matter.

So, moving forward, here are my Shoot For The Moon Challenge goals for 2017:

*Submit one flash/short story a month
Enough people have said they really like my flash fiction that I’m going to make a more concerted effort to write it and submit it to the various markets which accept that sort of thing. To be clear, I don’t anticipate getting accepted anywhere, certainly not this year. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I’m getting personalised rejections but I doubt it. The goal is to submit. That’s it.

*Update blog to include published works, wips and Be A Bard
I haven’t quite adapted to not having my website yet, hence why you wouldn’t know, from looking at this blog, that I have actually published and been published, nor that I have a card game or am currently working on stuff. So I’m going to put all that stuff on here and maybe it’ll help to remind me that I’m a writer as well.

*Submit KARRAKHAN to Samhain
This is a rather steamy paranormal romance I’ve been working on. It has shapeshifting dragons and portals between worlds and hopefully a not entirely superficial world on the other side of the portal. Oh, and sex. LOTS of sex. If you’re not into that, don’t read it. Seriously.

*Lose a dress size
I don’t think I look bad at the size I am, but I know I look better when I’m slimmer. Also, I have a lot of really pretty clothes in my wardrobe from when I was substantially slimmer than I am now. It seems a waste so I’m going to get back into them again. This year.

*Start running again
This is partly because of the above goal of slimming down and partly because I want to be able to run away from zombies and/or scary people in the street. I’ve never enjoyed running in the past – it never went beyond being Bloody Hard Work – but it’s cheap. In order to make this happen I need to replace my current shoes (which are so old and busted I really can’t justify buying new running shoes when my everyday getting around shoes are such a disaster) and then buy new running shoes. And then it’ll be Couch to 5k again. Probably spun out to double its normal length because I’m not planning on doing a 5k race or anything. I just want to slim down and keep fit at the same time.

*Write a business plan for Be A Bard
I’m going to look into the possibility of Dragons Den for Bard and that requires a business plan. I should have a business plan anyway because there’s more to a business than a Kickstarter, even if I don’t go the Dragons Den route (or do and get knocked back). So this is part of Being A Grown Up. Dammit.

*Get funding for Be A Bard
Whether it’s through Dragons Den or Kickstarter or an alien dropping a suitcase full of £20 notes down the chimney, I really want to get Bard funded this year. Because… [see the next goal]

*Launch Be A Bard
I really want to launch Bard this year. It’s been nearly three years in the making in this point. Some of the artwork has been improved since the first deck made its appearance at Bristolcon 2014, most of it has remained the same. The borders and icons have been redesigned. I’ve even designed the box, for crying out loud. It’s as ready to go as I can make it. Now it needs to go, so that I can find out if it flies or not. Either way, it’ll free up some much needed brain space. Who knows, it might even earn some money?

*Self-publish a novel
I’m pretty sure this has been a yearly goal since 2011. I’d really like it to happen this year. It may not. But I think I’m closer to the possibility of it actually coming to pass this year than I have been before. We’ll see how this pans out. But really, I wanna fucking publish!! And I also want to publish something where the only complaint *isn’t* that it’s too short.

*Write 200,000 words of fiction
This would top my previous year’s best (2012) of 190,131 words. It also feels like a nice round number and therefore ticks two boxes. Best of all, it would be more or less three novels’ worth of words, which isn’t a bad target for a year, especially as a self-publisher. Or rather, someone who wants to be a self-publisher. Of novels. For fuck’s sake.

*Make £20,000
From Bard, books, editing, freelancing, the aforementioned well-funded but careless aliens, whatever. I need to start making money or my sense of self-worth will not survive and if I don’t believe in myself it’s going to be very hard to survive as a self-published writer or independent game developer.

*Complete a screenplay and submit it to a contest
I’ve wanted to write screenplays for years and have dabbled in bits and bobs here and there. Rather like the ‘write the first novel’ goal that is on a lot of people’s bucket lists (although probably not yours – if you’re reading this you’re probably a writer, since that’s the people I generally hang out with, so you probably write fairly consistently and have completed one novel a while back, if not several. And go you, by the way. That’s fucking awesome and you’re a creative artistic BADASS.) The submitting to a contest part is to keep me accountable. Contests have deadlines. It’s also to get me some totally objective feedback – I’ll only submit to a contest which provides feedback. Since you have to pay for entry, you might as well get something back in return.

*Get Mother mobile again post knee-op
Dear gods and goddesses, please cross every digit you possess and all those you can reach, whether they’re yours or someone else’s. It’s been over a year since she broke her leg and with all the shittery we’ve been dealing with, she’s had to cope with a deformed leg as well. It hurts and it doesn’t work very well. We need a knee replacement and I’m told recovery from those is a bitch. So the goal is to get her back to her formerly mobile self by the end of the year. (pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease)

*Spend a day learning horseback archery
Because how fucking awesome would that be? I can already ride a horse but I’ve never even held a bow in my life, let alone fired one. This is actually the one goal on this list which has nothing to do with any professional or family endeavour. It’s something I would love to do, just for me, as a completely useless and pointless waste of my time which would make me really happy. So it’s on the list. Because why the fuck not?

So there you have it. My goals for 2017. I think they’re all achievable, albeit quite ambitious. We’ll see what happens. The whole point of shooting for the moon is that you’re ambitious. At least this gives me something to focus on which I actually have a hope of achieving.


About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
This entry was posted in About Writing, Be A Bard, Kickstarter, Life, Shoot For The Moon Challenge. Bookmark the permalink.

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